The Winter Empowerment Fund is a program service of the High Fives Non-Profit Foundation that provides support for alternative healing and therapies, rehabilitative and adaptive equipment to athletes that suffer a life altering injury while pursuing a dream in the winter action sports community. Funds are allocated to assist disabled athletes in the recovery process and help achieve goals in the sports they love. Andrew Kurka and Sally Francklyn are both grant recipients of the Winter Empowerment Fund. Recently, Sally interviewed Andrew…
His name is Andrew Kurka, but he goes by AK. More importantly, he plans on competing in the Sochi Olympics. At the age of 13, he suffered a spinal cord injury, which could have changed everything. But it didn’t: his plans haven’t changed. He still will compete as an athlete, growing his sport, and raising his ranking as a skier. We caught up with him to find out just how he does it.
(Sally Francklyn): Who are you, as an athlete?
(Andrew Kurka): I see myself as someone who consistently accepts challenges, sets goals, and I do my best to achieve them.
(SF): How has this injury changed your perspective on life?
(AK): It’s helped me to look at the little things in life and understand different perspectives.
(AK): I’m able to see inspiration in little things in life and find that there’s a way to do just about anything- it just might take more time, and it might be completely different. But it’s all in the way you look at it.
(SF): What are your future goals?
(AK): My goals in life are pretty simple: try my hardest and do my best. I try to set short-term goals, and long-term goals. That way, success is reachable in the here-and-now. My long-term goals are to raise my world ranking (for skiing) and of course, do what it takes for a gold medal in Sochi.
(SF): What makes you happy, now?
(AK): The same things still make me happy: sports, competition, helping others, family…but how I do it has changed. It’s all in the perspective.
(SF): How has High Fives Foundation positively affected your life?
(AK): Helping to give me everything I need to achieve my goals. It would really be difficult if I didn’t have them backing me up. I’m just hoping to be a good representative and give back how I can.
(SF): What are your respective goals, in the winter action sports community and life?
(AK): I hope to help as many people as I can, and make a difference in my sport- hopefully expanding it. In my life, I’m starting to invest, and I hope to be making consistent money while I ski and before I retire.
Learn more about the interviewer, Sally Francklyn here. Thanks Sally!